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Enchilada vs. Quesadilla: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 8, 2024
An enchilada is a Mexican dish featuring a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili sauce, whereas a quesadilla consists of a tortilla, usually flour, filled with cheese and sometimes other ingredients, then folded and grilled.

Key Differences

Enchiladas are made by rolling a filling, typically meat, cheese, beans, or vegetables, in corn tortillas, then smothered in a chili sauce. Quesadillas, on the other hand, are made by filling a flour tortilla, most commonly with cheese, then folding and grilling it until the cheese melts.
The key component of an enchilada is its chili sauce, which can vary in flavor and spice, adding depth to the dish. Quesadillas rely heavily on the melted cheese within, which serves as the glue holding the tortilla together and adds a creamy texture.
Enchiladas are often baked in an oven to enhance the flavors and meld the ingredients together, creating a cohesive dish. In contrast, quesadillas are typically cooked on a stovetop or griddle, focusing on achieving a crispy exterior and gooey cheese interior.
The origins of the enchilada date back to Aztec times, reflecting traditional Mexican cuisine, while the quesadilla has evolved as a versatile dish, easily adapted with various fillings, including meats, vegetables, and spices.
Serving styles differ as well: enchiladas are often served with a side of rice and beans, making it a more substantial meal, whereas quesadillas are frequently enjoyed as a snack or a light meal, sometimes accompanied by salsa or guacamole.

Comparison Chart

Base Ingredient

Corn tortilla
Flour tortilla


Rolled with filling, then baked
Filled, folded, and grilled

Key Component

Chili sauce

Cooking Method

Baked in oven
Cooked on stovetop or griddle

Serving Style

Often as a substantial meal
Usually as a snack or light meal

Enchilada and Quesadilla Definitions


Enchilada, characterized by its savory chili sauce.
The enchilada sauce added a spicy kick to the dish.


Quesadilla, usually made with a flour tortilla.
She filled the flour tortilla with cheese to make a quesadilla.


Enchilada, a Mexican dish of corn tortilla rolled around a filling and chili sauce.
She made chicken enchiladas for dinner.


Quesadilla, adaptable with various fillings besides cheese.
They added chicken and peppers to their quesadilla for extra flavor.


Enchilada, a dish reflecting traditional Mexican cuisine.
Enchiladas are a popular dish in Mexican restaurants.


Quesadilla, a Mexican dish of a tortilla filled with cheese.
He ordered a cheese quesadilla as a quick lunch.


Enchilada, often served with rice and beans.
For a complete meal, she served the enchiladas with a side of rice and beans.


Quesadilla, cooked until the cheese inside melts.
The quesadilla was grilled until the cheese was perfectly gooey.


Enchilada, traditionally baked to blend flavors.
The enchiladas came out of the oven bubbling and aromatic.


Quesadilla, often served as a snack or light meal.
Quesadillas are great for a quick and satisfying snack.


A tortilla rolled and stuffed usually with a mixture containing meat or cheese and served with a sauce spiced with chili.


A flour tortilla folded in half around a savory filling, as of cheese or beans, then fried or toasted.


A Mexican dish made by wrapping a filling in a tortilla, then baking in a sauce.


A Mexican dish made by filling a tortilla with cheese and sometimes other ingredients and then cooking it until the cheese is melted.


Tortilla with meat filling baked in chili-seasoned tomato sauce


What is an enchilada?

An enchilada is a Mexican dish made with a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered in chili sauce.

Are quesadillas always made with flour tortillas?

Quesadillas are commonly made with flour tortillas, but corn tortillas can also be used.

What types of fillings can be used in enchiladas?

Enchiladas can be filled with meats, cheese, beans, or vegetables.

Are enchiladas considered a main dish?

Yes, enchiladas are often served as a main dish, typically with sides like rice and beans.

What is a quesadilla?

A quesadilla is a Mexican dish made of a tortilla filled with cheese, folded, and grilled.

Can enchiladas be made with flour tortillas?

Traditionally, enchiladas are made with corn tortillas, but some variations use flour tortillas.

What additional ingredients can be added to a quesadilla?

Besides cheese, you can add meats, vegetables, or spices to quesadillas.

Is chili sauce necessary for an enchilada?

Chili sauce is a key component of traditional enchiladas, giving them their distinctive flavor.

Is it common to bake enchiladas?

Yes, baking is a common method to cook enchiladas and blend the flavors.

Can quesadillas be made without cheese?

While cheese is the primary ingredient, non-dairy alternatives can be used for a cheese-less quesadilla.

Can quesadillas serve as a main course?

While usually a snack or light meal, quesadillas can be a main course if made with additional fillings.

How are enchiladas typically served?

Enchiladas are commonly served with sides like rice, beans, or a salad.

Are quesadillas easy to prepare?

Yes, quesadillas are known for their simplicity and quick preparation time.

Can quesadillas be made with non-traditional fillings?

Yes, quesadillas can be adapted with a variety of non-traditional fillings to suit different tastes.

Are enchiladas served with any sauces or toppings?

Enchiladas are often topped with additional sauces, cheese, sour cream, or fresh cilantro.

How is the cheese in a quesadilla usually cooked?

The cheese in a quesadilla is melted by grilling or cooking on a stovetop.

What are the most popular meats used in enchiladas?

Chicken, beef, and pork are commonly used meats in enchiladas.

What accompaniments go well with quesadillas?

Salsa, guacamole, and sour cream are popular accompaniments for quesadillas.

How do you keep quesadillas crispy?

Cooking quesadillas on a hot griddle or pan until golden brown ensures a crispy exterior.

Can enchiladas be made spicy?

Yes, the spiciness of enchiladas can be adjusted with the type of chili sauce used.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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